How ‘New Girl’ Remains a Comedy Staple

New Girl promotional image.

New Girl’s relatability is a conundrum of sorts. Why we keep coming back to it, despite the years that have passed, is entirely dependent on our moods. (At least, that’s the case for me.) At one point, it was (still is) because every time I feel writing is too complicated and frustrating, Nick Miller is there to remind us (me) that we aren’t alone. Sometimes, it’s because I miss the loft’s aesthetic, even though it’s the exact opposite of my usual taste in decor.

In this case, Max Greenfield was spotted at Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour, and I realized I missed the show again. Now that I’m back in, I’m once again trying to understand its appeal and its imprint on pop culture—flaws and all.

New Girl Hits Different Every Time

characters in New Girl reacting to something awful at the bar.

It doesn’t matter how many times you rewatch the show, for its appeal lies in its ability to hit differently every time. Yesterday, it was heartbreak; today, it’s something career-related; tomorrow, it might be sheer escapism. New Girl’s perfect characterizations of deeply flawed thirty (late 20s?) year-olds allow universal problems to feel a little less daunting.

In all their glory, the characters on New Girl manage to convey something to the audience that we aren’t even looking for. Remember when youth icon Ruth Bader Parekh Schmidt said, “The whole system is corrupt. Meow?” Yeah, she was and still is right about that. One day, Jess is the most relatable character, even when we’re nothing like her, and the next, it’s Schmidt, but somehow, for most millennials, it’s also always Nick Miller. It’s oddly why the show hits differently every time because of the viewers and our inner emotions intermingling with the characters’. Of all the comedies, it’s New Girl’s appeal that’s hard to encompass fully.

I turn to Parks and Recreation for inspiration, escapism, and almost everything else—all the best, cathartic cries come from Pawnee. Brooklyn Nine-Nine remains the most self-aware and innovative. The Good Place is wise and endearing. The Office I turn to when I’m annoyed. Schitt’s Creek is where I laugh the hardest. And then there’s the puzzling reason behind New Girl. The road that leads here isn’t always straightforward, almost like the rules of “True American,” yet here we are, playing again and again.

Characters in New Girl looking out the balcony.

In short, maybe it is the unpredictability of New Girl’s charm or the complex, messy character journeys that already feel a little nostalgic, even when it hasn’t been that long since the series ended. Maybe it doesn’t need to make sense, and this is your sign to start yet another New Girl rewatch just because. Comfort? Humor? Romance? Utter nonsense that’s relatable? The show, indeed, has it all. Maybe the show’s charm is reflective of the characters’ journeys too. Would Schmidt and Nick be best friends if they weren’t roommates first? Would these friendships and romances be as strong without Jess’ breakup leading her here? Probably not. Or, maybe, by chance, they’d find each other differently. Still, like their serendipitous meeting, perhaps that’s why we’re so drawn to it too.

No matter the time period, there’s something relatable about New Girl that seems to reflect our day-to-day lives. In an unsurprising turn of events, Nick Miller once again turned into the ultimate meme during the Covid-19 pandemic, where many of our rewatches simultaneously began. Because even when nothing makes sense, and we’re in yet another rut, the jokes still hold up, and the natural humor manages to work its magic. Even amid the frustrating breaks, the journey remains worth it for what the series conveys through characters who are just trying to find their way. And oddly, despite the show’s happy ending, you just know that though the couples will last, frustrating perils will still find them. We could’ve certainly had more episodes with loads of relatable content, even after the romances are tied up with neat little bows.


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